The Cyprus Premier League is the top football league competition in Cyprus organized by the Cyprus Football Federation. It has been sponsored by Cyta since February 2016 and is officially known as the Cyta Championship. The league is contested by 12 teams and runs from August to May, with the three lowest teams descend into the second Cypriot league and be replaced by the three best teams in this league. In the seasons 2018-19 and 2019-20 the league will be played by 12 teams and will be held from August to May. The two lowest ranked teams descend into the Cypriot second division and are replaced by the two best teams of the season this department.
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Football was introduced at the beginning of the 20th century by the British in Cyprus. Originally played in the schools of the island, it proved extremely popular and a number of clubs were duly founded.
Since 1911, when Anorthosis Famagusta FC was founded, many clubs were founded and in 1932 the Cypriot championship began unofficially annually. In each season, the championship was organized by another football club, which led to conflicts between some teams.
As football became more established, clubs agreed that an official body was needed to regulate the sport. In September 1934 the Cyprus Football Association (CFA) was founded and the Cypriot Championship and the Cypriot Cup took place annually. The first champions of Cyprus were Trust in 1935, but the club worked three years later. In the 1930s dominated APOEL, who won five championships in a row until 1940. Like other World Championships, the Cypriot championship was interrupted due to the Second World War from 1941 to 1945.
The union of the Cypriot championship lasted only two seasons. In 1955 Çetinkaya Türk S.K., the only Turkish Cypriot team in the Cypriot First League since 1934/35, withdrew from the championship and founded the Turkish Football Association of Cyprus with other Turkish Cypriot teams with their own competitions. The reason was political because the Turkish Cypriot leadership supported the division of the island. However, this federation was never recognized and no team of this federation could participate in international competitions.
The independence of Cyprus in 1960 was followed by the full membership of the Cyprus Football Association at UEFA in 1962. From 1963, the champions of Cyprus could compete in the European Cup of Champions and the cup winners in the European Cup Winners' Cup. Since 1971, the runners-up of the Greek Cypriot First Division have taken part in the UEFA Cup. From 1967 to 1974, the Greek Cypriot champions were promoted to the Greek First National Division. Greek Cypriot teams depended on Alpha Ethniki each season, except for 1974, when APOEL managed to stay in the Greek championship, which meant Cyprus had two teams in Alpha Ethniki. Due to the Turkish invasion of Cyprus this year, APOEL and Omonia (the champion of Cyprus for 1974) retired from the league.
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